Originally Published: August 27, 2015 6:02 a.m.
PRESCOTT - The margin of victory in the Prescott mayoral race got even narrower Wednesday, Aug. 26, with the release of the "unofficial final results" by the Yavapai County Recorder's office.
According to information posted online just after noon Wednesday, the number of votes separating Mayor-elect Harry Oberg from candidate Dan Fraijo had dropped to 192.
That is down from the 245 votes that separated the two at the end of voting Tuesday night, Aug. 25. City and county officials emphasized at the time that, however, that Tuesday's results were "unofficial," and would remain so until the next day, when 560 remaining ballots would be verified and counted.
Yavapai County Recorder Leslie Hoffman earlier explained that the uncounted ballots would include those that were cast between 5 and 7 p.m. on primary day, Aug. 25, as well as any last-minute questions about voters' signatures.
The new numbers put the margin between Oberg and Fraijo at 1.33 percent. While close, the results will not trigger the automatic recount required by state statute, say city officials.
According to the statute (ARS 16-661 on "automatic recount, requirements, exemption"), an automatic recount is required in a city, town, or county election if the margin between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes is within 10 votes. (Other positions, such as statewide offices and the state legislature, have higher automatic-recount thresholds).
Along with the change in the mayor's race, the unofficial final results also increased the number of write-in votes for City Council. While the total stood at 2,274 votes Tuesday night, it had risen to 2,357 on Wednesday.
Prescott City Clerk Dana DeLong said county officials are still working to determine how many of those votes went to official write-in candidate Alan Dubiel, and how many went to other write-ins.
Because the three council candidates listed on the ballot - Jim Lamerson, Steve Sischka, and Billie Orr - all received a majority of the ballots cast, the council race will not go to a run-off in November. In order to be elected outright in the primary, the council candidates required at least 7,617 votes. All three exceeded that number - Sischka with 10,142 votes; Orr with 9,523 votes; and Lamerson with 8,515 votes.
With the addition of the remaining ballots, the percentage of voter turnout also changed on Wednesday. The unofficial final results has the total number of voters at 15,250 - for about 58 percent of the 26,352 registered voters in Prescott.
That is the highest voter turnout in a Prescott race since the 60-percent turnout for the Nov. 8, 2005 general election, which included Proposition 400 - the controversial "Reasonable Growth" initiative that required stricter restrictions on large-scale annexations. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure.
Wednesday's tally is considered "unofficial final" until the Prescott City Council canvasses the results at a meeting on Sept. 1.
The new mayor and council members will be sworn into office on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-642-0951.